I was considering some thoughts about how to develop a successful bullpen, and that led me to wonder:
How does a team generate a successful bullpen?
Obviously the plan is to get a bunch of live young arms and adapt them to the bullpen life. But with good young arms at a premium, those are hard to import. It seems that the past two years have shown that it's difficult to import bullpen strength even when you commit talent and money to acquiring it (i.e. Lopez/Kearns and the money to sign Stanton).
Since most bullpen arms are failed starters who are, at some point, converted to relief, isn't the Reds' current bullpen struggle a symptom of the lack of successful arms in their minor-league system? If the Reds truly stockpiled useful young pitching, even if the highly-drafted guys projected as front-end-starters didn't pan out, we still might see mid-round draft picks with live arms throwing for our bullpen.
A commitment to drafting pitching might not always produce a Homer Bailey-type pick, but a deep draft or two could re-stock the system full of arms and produce a Scott-Sullivan type guy. Look at his 150 ERA+ in '99 - you think that team makes the playoff game without him? No wai.
Dear Wayne: draft, draft, draft.